Old 06-04-2013, 04:33 AM
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fmwyso fmwyso is offline
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: California
Posts: 122
Default New IEM Suggestions?

I currently use SoundMagic E10s and have used Phonak Audeo PFEs (whose model is now called 022 apparently). I have always enjoyed IEMs for their isolation, clarity and convenience; for all these three reasons, I will probably be looking for a new pair of IEMs. Please feel free to read as much or as little as you like and provide any suggestions you feel are worthy of looking up.

I have recently received a good chunk of money but I need to justify what I spend through my family. As for a maximum, I would say $400 is probably the best I can argue my way through. Considering they never pay more than $20 for a set of earbuds, even $400 will be difficult but I think I can. Feel free to suggest earbuds that cost more, I'll see what I can do :P.

I ride the bus for at least 10 hours every week which would do horrors for my ears if I didn't use earphones. The PFE and E10 worked pretty well on isolating all that bus sound, but the more the better (a large reason why I justify paying for earphones is that I needn't pay for a car). Comfort is relatively high on my list simply because I wear these phones so often.

I wear my earphones a lot... I listen to music at home, on the bus to school and during any down time I have at school. My PFEs used to require new filters once every month, and my E10s typically break every 6 months.

Clarity is a huge aspect of what I want from my earphones. Comparing the PFEs to my E10s, the highs no longer shine like they once did. In fact, quite a few songs aren't enjoyable any more simply because their voices are so muddied down by the E10s.

Channel Balance
The biggest problem with my PFEs was channel balance because the filters would lose it after about a month. One ear would have more than the other and it would just drive me nuts. I simply cannot stand when middle sounds are no longer in the middle of my sound stage. I would love to have an earphone that remains well balanced even after lots of use.

Sound Signature
I don't honestly think I care much about how sounds feel like. I mostly want clarity, balance and basses that at least exist (The E10s are a good amount of bass for me). I do particularly enjoy sound stages where the source of the sound has a particular distinct location. Almost as if I can easily tell one voice apart from another simply because it is coming from a different location. Of course, along with that, distinct pitches are also enjoyable as I would like changing pitch to be strongly audible.

Cable Less
The cable is annoying for many reasons but the most important one is that the cable is dangerous while I am on the treadmill. At this point, I simply don't feel safe enough to wear my earphones while connected to my Z2 for fear that it will be yanked on too much. However, if there are issues with bluetooth or otherwise, cable less is not a necessity.

For the record, I live in United States and use a Cowon Z2 (with no amplifier) as my source.

I have looked at a few threads/articles but my main concern is they tend to be outdated and most suggest that E10s are probably one of my better bets. While they are great, I am hoping I can find another pair of earphones that have equal cost efficiency but are premium.

Thanks for your time! (whether you have any suggestions or not)
Currently: SoundMagic E10 / Cowon Z2
Previously: Phonak Audéo PFE / Cowon iAudio 7
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Old 06-10-2013, 06:45 PM
vashta_nerada vashta_nerada is offline
Junior Member
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 11

I've never listened to the e10 or the Phonaks. For IEMs I use and recommend the TDK IE800 and the BA200. The ba200 is somewhat of a warm sound while the ie800 is slightly brighter. They sound very similar. The highs on the ba200 are a bit more relaxed compared to the ie800. Mids are great on both. Vocals just sound very intimate.

Both are nicely priced at around 100-150.

I used them both on a 5 hour flight to California and found them to be excellent at reducing the engine noise. They were comfortable enough to leave in for a couple hours at a time. I had to take them out occasionally to get some air. I also left the ba200 in my pocket and washed it on accident but after letting them dry, they were perfectly fine. I found the BA200 a bit more comfortable but it is a deep insertion IEM and the cable is an over the ear design.

I think the IE800 may be slightly more detailed, but not a big difference.

Cables are flat cables...which are kind of annoying. When I workout and use them outside, I run them under my shirt to avoid snagging. I also use the clips to keep the cable weight off the IEM housing.

RE400 and the EPH100 are also highly recommended in the 100$ price range.

Here's where I like to read up on different IEMs:
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Old 06-26-2013, 07:31 AM
JK98 JK98 is offline
Ultra Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 4,268

I suggest that you not spend more than $100, as IEMs that are used frequently tend to break, get lost, or get stolen. My experience with headphones in general is that spending 4x as much might get you 20% more quality. Sometimes though, a cheaper one could be much better than a more expensive one. The sweet spot in the market used to be in the $50-100 range which gave the best value per dollar, however recently I have been impressed with some IEMs under $25(such as the JVC HA-FX40, Panasonic RP-HJE450 and RP-HJE355). I have never heard the Soundmagic E10. I do have the Meelectronics CW31 though. It got such great ratings on head-fi, however imo the JVC HA-FX40, and Panasonic RP-HJE450 and RPHJE355 are better than the CW31. If you want an IEM with great detail and like plenty of treble, you should try the JVC HA-FX40. It is the first IEM with carbon nanotube technology. It is only around $18. With IEMs fit is an important factor. I tend to use the IEMs that fit me the best most of the time. That is why imo it is better to buy a few cheaper IEMs than one expensive one. if the one expensive one doesn't fit you well you are stuck, especially if you can't return it.
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